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August 28, 2020 8:00 am
How was the church supposed to tell the world about Jesus when the king is against them. King Herod is plotted with the Jews to persecute the believers throw them in prison even killed at least one of them.
In a moment.
Dr. James Boyce explains how an angel of God steps in to get rid of this pesky king, freeing up the church to spread God's word. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act likely that King Herod described in X12 was a real piece of work. He was no friend of God. It was time for him to go to make way for the spread of the gospel beyond Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth.
Let's listen now together to Dr. Boyce were gone denied to the very end of the 12th chapter of acts in our study. All this great New Testament book and we, as a result to strange incident.
It tells us of the death of Herod and are reaction might well be so what say that because a death of a king is not all that remarkable record of a death of any kind unless the person is well known. Dawson missed biases not remarkable. Certainly not the death of gangs, all kings by all people die by intended treat that a bit likely I think for example of the complex from symbol and Shakespeare's play play. Not very well known, though the couplet is it goes golden lads and girls all mosques as chimney sweepers come to dust. Well, it's what we have with Herod. Herod was a man getting money was not so high that he could escape death and he did by and was judged so we say what does all that remarkable about that.
We might also raise the question about this story because of where we are in the book.
This is a little bit of narrative that might belong somewhere along the way, we could reason, but it doesn't come just anywhere along the way comes at the end of chapter 12 in chapter 12. As you know from our previous study ends what some people would call the first right half of acts which I think because of our study of the outline of the beginning actually ends the second part recall that in the first chapter in acts version of the great commission Jesus said that his disciples were going to be his witnesses in Jerusalem and then Judea and Samaria, and finally throughout the world, how it is that the parts of going throughout the world that we come when we come to chapter 13 allowing pad witness in Jerusalem and it's begun to spread and the surrounding areas, Samaria, and a bit of the Gentile world. But now here in chapter 13.
We have the beginning of this great missionary expansion of the gospel. Chapter 12 includes the previous section, we might say is that any way to end major section of the book where the story about the death of his king is King Herod's is significant and I like to show you why. First of all I bike to point out who this king was one of Herod's in the New Testament. Some people read the accounts and by that word.
Herod assume all the same person.
While this is for at least five Herod's and it helps in some things to keep it straight.
This was said dynasty and the first and great gang in the dynasty was Herod who goes by the name great carriage the great as well as the king who was raining at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ is the king ordered the murder of the babies of Bethlehem, thinking that if he killed all the children that were due years of age and younger. Eve would probably get this king who according to the word of the wise man was an upstart pretender to the throne so that was the first Herod. He was succeeded by a second Herod Herod Archelaus were not told anything about him just doesn't enter in to the New Testament in any way that is so undoubtedly because he was raining during a time about which the New Testament records virtually nothing, that is, the early years of the lifetime of Jesus Christ. We don't begin to get much information until he began his public ministry about 30 years after his birth, the third Herod in this line of Herod's was Herod Antipas I we do know something about him because he is the Herod who killed John the Baptist. He had a woman who was mocked lawfully is wife allowed to be by Jewish law, John the Baptist preached against that woman was resentful and so she schemed against John the Baptist. She had her daughter Salome danced and when Herod said to give Salome anything she wanted. She went to her mother and her mother said.
Asked for the head of John the Baptist on the platter and so this is the heritage that killed John this Herod also enters into the trial of Jesus.
He wasn't the one who presided over the trial of which Jesus Christ was condemned and eventually crucified. I was pilot to recall that pilot to believe that Jesus was innocent but was caught between the horns of a dilemma. His conviction of Jesus innocence and the desire of the people having killed was hunting around for any way he could find. Get off the hawk and he thought, well, there's Herod over there. When he heard Jesus came from Galilee. Herod was raining over that area of the country. He said all I just pretended this Jesus of Nazareth is under his jurisdiction.
So I sent them off Herod. Herod well understood what was going on he amused himself for little bit. Many just sent Jesus back pilot, but that's the third Herod in the line now forces Herod Agrippa the first lizard here one that occurs in the story right to see more about them a little bit about his career just rounded out. He had a son son was Herod Agrippa. The second he was too young at the time of this Herod's death, time that is alluded to hear the end chapter 12 take the throne. He was in Rome at the time, and Claudius the Emperor instead of sending Bayside as the successor to be another king sent a procurator instead rule in this dangerous area of the world.
Eventually, Herod Agrippa did become king, though with very limited power. This was the Herod, before whom the apostle Paul appeared and made a defense some years later you have that recorded the 25th chapter of acts so you have all those different parents. Now, they said this is Herod Agrippa. The first interesting career. He was raised in Rome and while he was in Rome and the royal household.
He became personal friend of Dyess, Caligula is not a great honor was a Emperor turned out to be particularly corrupt.
But this Herod got to know him and then when Caligula came to the throne. He appointed his friends stood prominent positions in the Empire of the words they had a patronage system that day exactly the way you have in politics today and his friend Herod Agrippa was a good man, a friend so he sent them off to take charge of certain areas in this region of the world. Maybe 37 Agrippa was given the tetrarch days of Philip and Lysander, yes two years later the territories of Galilee and Korea were added to him and then finally lady 41 he was given the title King of Judea, King didn't mean quite what we think of it, meaning thing of the king is a person who has absolute dominion over his territory. This wasn't the way parent function. He was called king that he was really a vassal of Rome. He had to do what Rome said he had a very, very careful to do what Rome Saturday Emperor just remove it. Probably also remove his head.
But anyway, he was given this title of king, no doubt because of his predecessors in this rate and distinguished line of parents we don't know a lot about some of these other men, but we do know a bit about Herod Agrippa. The first one thing we know Josephus writes about it that he tried very hard to get on good terms with the Jews. He did everything he could think of to win their favor. Perhaps cynical, we would say, for political reasons. He knew that this was a trouble spot. He wanted to keep peace but also because he had a genuine respect for the Jews religion. He was half Jewish and even entered into the ceremonies in the temple, such as reading the Scriptures reading the law on certain occasions in the court of the women, which is as far into the temple enclosure that he was allowed to go right.
This is the man whose death is now recorded for us here. Interesting that this is one place where something that were told about in acts is duplicated for us in secular literature mentioned a moment ago that Josephus tells us a bit about this Herod and he does. And one thing the Josephus tells us about his Herod's death, and not surprisingly, Josephus tells us is very, much like what we find here all the outline of events is the same, and there are no contradictions.
Josephus adds a few things a few embellishments. I don't mean by using the word that he invented these things about their weight really happened, but there embellishments to the story.
What Luke tells us is that day was appointed when Herod gave a speech to the people and he appeared in his royal robes and they greeted him in a flattering way. They said to him, this is not the voice of a man. This is the voice of a godly work, alluding to his alleged oratorical abilities and Luke says he didn't take the glory that was given and given to God as he should have. Rather, he took it for himself and as a result of that, an angel of the Lord struck him down and he died. Now Josephus says following exactly the same outline but nevertheless adding something that this was the morning when all of the people had gathered together for the great address at the very dawn of the day and that Herod appeared dressed in a row. Royal robes what Luke says, but is Josephus adds a royal robe made of silver actual silver. It was a very rich man. Here is a robe made of silver, and the Savior says he appeared on the dais to give his speech just as the rays of the sun were lifting up above the surrounding buildings are enclosure in the rays of the early sun fell on them. You know how in the early morning sun is not white as it is in the middle of the day golden with the dawn.
These golden rays fell upon the shining silver suits of Herod Agrippa and he glowed.
He glowed like God's people said it's a God. This is no mere man. This is a God then Josephus said while it was happening. Josephus hesitantly did not give the glory to God, he took it to himself and while this was happening while the words were being said, suddenly this man Herod felt cute paints with them. Josephus didn't understand what the medical ailment was people written about it since you can find books and try to say what it was but at any rate, he was struck down within five days. According to Josephus, the man had died. The lesson certainly wasn't lost on those who were present wasn't lost on Josephus lesson everybody could say was, you must not take the glory of God or yourself. Herod did that. And God struck him down whenever I read this story, I do think of a similar story in the Old Testament, which I've alluded to an occasion. The story of Nebuchadnezzar and just desire to take God's glory for himself. Daniel is the book that tells us about in the early chapters give us Nebuchadnezzar store a lot of interesting parts to the story. The part that is pertinent to the story of Herod comes from the time when Nebuchadnezzar stood upon the roof of his great ballasts in Bible and looking down load out over the hanging gardens were one of the great wonders of the world looking out upon the great walls of the city what he thought were sufficient to protect them from all attack preserve his empire forever looked out upon that great city of the great wonders of the ancient world of Marvel and he said look at this great Bible in which I have built by my mighty strength, and for the glory of my Majesty. The text tells us that in a way very similar to what happened to Herod. It was while he was yet speaking voice came from heaven, and said that because she didn't give glory to God the glory to himself. He would be driven from the company of man he would become like an animal inside live in the fields. Of seven years until he should acknowledge that the most high God is the true God of heaven and earth. That's what happened to as her became insane. He was driven from the palace treated the way they undoubtedly treated the insane those days and he lived like an animal for seven years until I see himself as the end of the seven years. My sanity returned in a manger scene not just intellectual sanity but spiritual sanity came to his senses spiritually is what it means, and he acknowledged that the true God really was the God of heaven and earth. He said the most high is the true God.
He lifts up to me well and he debases me. Well, praise the lack God I said, you say that there's a parallel between the stories of the rich is also a great contrast, Nebuchadnezzar was judged in such a way that allowed them by the grace of God in time to regain his spiritual mind acknowledge that the true God really is the true God. Herod did not have opportunity to do that. Perhaps it's because Herod should have known better because Herod slapped in the temple enclosure reading the law knew the true God was new that he should give God glory on this great occasion when the masses surrounded them and they said to him, all you wonderful your God when that happened, he lost his mind, as it were, and he said all yes. Is that true are thy wonderful and God struck him down.
Most of us never going to get into position where we do anything like that.
I trust the judgment like that is ever going to come upon us, but you know we do have that tendency to take praise for ourselves when not to go to God. People say all that wonderful what you've done are old aren't you wonderful roller to talented something was said to very often. Some of us get that. So you get that is always a tendency when that happens to start a smile and Tyler have humble way. Say yes you know, I guess there's a way in which we can do that that isn't really so bad we just try to be polite. Don't really take it seriously but it is a dangerous thing. What we must learn to do is to give glory to God.
There's no talent we have the God is not given. There is no success that we have made that God has not provided the means to make the success. There is nothing whatsoever of any good we can achieve that God is not the ultimate origin of the good.
So we need to acknowledge that as the Bible teaches, and having said all of that. I think the reason. Luke includes this story here is not primarily to say that it is wrong to take the glory of God for ourselves, and that is obviously true. Part of the story. What's the story here. Rather, because of the contrast it provides with those two verses with which this great section of the book of acts, concludes verse 24 which says, but the word of God continued to increase and spread verse 25 it says that Barnabas and Saul finished their mission went back to Antioch from Jerusalem taking John Mark and us ground was laid for the missionary expansion that takes place in part two is a reason I think the contrast is intended is that Herod was the one who has been most effective up to this point in opposing the progress of the gospel, looked at the growth of persecutions of the church as we study these previous chapters and we seen it at the beginning it really wasn't very intense.
All the Sanhedrin didn't much like it when the apostles went around preaching that this Jesus they had seen, crucified, was raised from the dead, calling people to believe in him and I liked it even less when the disciples said that the Sanhedrin was guilty of the man's murder, but alas they were Jews. They were in good standing and violating any of the laws of Israel so that wasn't a whole lot of a really good too late. Told him not appreciably beat them on occasion, but mostly they allow them to go their own way to be alone and his gospel began to spread. The whole question of the validity of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles arose was that the persecution increased when Stephen first martyr and preach along those lines I killed him and later in the gospel spread further. They got very angry at the apostles and this Herod actually arrested James and had him executed then as we saw in the story he arrested Peter thinking that he was going to have him executed to this is the man who saved the one who had tried to carry the greatest possible favor with the Jews, and who was most opposed to the expansion of the Christian gospel repressing that in order that he might gain the one this man would try to oppose expansion of the gospel is now struck down by the angel of God at the end of this section and the verse immediately after it says I pointed out. By contrast, but word of God continued to increase and spread always that way.
You had many degrees in history when people tried to oppose. I gospel that gospel letter word of God, that good news of salvation in Jesus Christ is always gone forth with increasing power in the world. Why is it that the gospel continues to increase and spread when so many other messages floundering die and become relics of the past number of reasons. Let me suggest a few. All of these reasons have to do with verses of Scripture refer to God's word, I think, for example, second Timothy 316 and 17. Those verses say all Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, in order that the man of God might be thoroughly equipped perfected for every good work. The key word there is useful. One reason why the gospel word of God continues to increase and spread is… It doesn't so useful, it does what needs to be done. It isn't practical thing messages we hear in which we get a great deal of attention running but useful to use less of the truth be told, most of what we hear is use less listen to television watch a story next weekend and remember what the story was utterly useless so far as anything other than entertainment was concerned to see a commercial that's useless you read a newspaper in the kind of information you get there. A few days later is generally useless. All sometimes amused to see but most of what we hear most about we give our time to his use less and certainly useless.
If we are thinking spiritually. But there is good news from God that is not useless is useful.
That's the word Paul uses synods useful for what we need.
We need to be instructed. We don't know about God of ourselves were ignorant of all the things in life that really matter and here is a word from God that explains all these things puts them right shows us what we really ought to believe and how we can think and how we can believe here's a word that rebukes us when we go astray, teaches us the meaning of sin tells us that it's wrong corrects us only rebuking, but it directs us in the way that we should go does the work of a teacher to lead us on step-by-step as by the grace of God we try to grow the Christian life. That's way word of God continues to increase and spread. I guess I would've said of Herod, well he did many useful things we did was great builder.
He spent lots of money. The amphitheaters and badness in all sorts of things like that but compared to the gospel, which changes men and women brings life out of death.
What he did was relatively little value. Think of Hebrews 412 which says the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit are I think of Isaiah 55. It compares the word of God to the rain and snow to come down from heaven and waters the earth causes us to bring forth in but that it might give seed to the sower and bread to the Internet so so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth. It shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing where, and to I sent it. Second reason word of God continues to increase and spread as it is powerful, useful, but powerful, does what other things can't do. It's penetrating for one thing, that's what the person Hebrews means it gets to us where we are. We set up barriers sweet surround ourselves by suits of armor to protect ourselves against the truth of what we are. God is what the future holds. Apart from Jesus Christ, the word of God is the thing that penetrates through that armor of our own making penetrates like the scalpel of the surgeon and it gets to us and it shows us that we really are sinners in need of the grace of God. And so it breaks down our defenses. Nothing but word of God.
The gospel does that. Moreover, when it penetrates it doesn't want to destroy because the work of the surgeon is not to destroy but to heal bring forth life and fruitfulness, which is what the verses in Isaiah 55 are all about us like the rain comes down and waters the earth might begin to bring forth in body grow and produce things that people can eat.
That's the way word of God.
The gospel operates. We seem that Baptists the story of the Christian church word of God breaking down people's resistance and then doing a work of regeneration and making people through full so that for my time on they begin to contribute to the world and do that which is helpful and a blessing. Thank two of Matthew 24 verse 35 a verse from one of Jesus. Last sermons recall at the Olivet discourse and amount of all of us shortly before his arrest or crucifixion are set on that occasion and in that first heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. There's 1/3 reason why the word of God continues to increase and spread it's an eternal word and everlasting word indestructible word. We look about us and we say well it's true.
People come and go. Herod died we die there is anything permanent.
It's the earth upon which we stand in the universe in which we exist. But this verse says that even those things will pass away.
Heaven and earth will pass away as Jesus when they will pass away, and that's my word. It is eternal. That's why it increases spreads say a person who comes to understand that understands us Christians to understand that although there is value in what we do here the things we see here that the things that we can touch handle those things though they have value or a relative value and not lasting value does have value are the things of the return of the invisible things and they come about as God works through his word in the hearts of men and women so that's why we're so anxious to teach the word of God. That's why were so anxious to see men and women come to believe it to be born again, because when there's a birth like that will then something happens that results of which are going to go on throughout all eternity forever and ever. Is also why Christians build their lives upon the word is why they have been willing to die for their profession. People say, well, nothing could be more precious than life's truth you're talking about spiritual life, but is not truth you're talking about physical life. Many Christians willingly given up their physical life. Because of that life beyond say they want to build upon the word build upon the gospel.
They want to link their lives to these clues that will never be destroyed, and wonder the faith like that increases spreads throughout the world on last verse. Also, the Olivet discourse of the same chapter. Matthew 24 verse 14. This verse tells us that the gospel must be preached in all the world and then the end will come to Jesus way of saying that the gospel will prevail. Missionary enterprise will continue the establishing of churches in every nation among all peoples will be successful because of us that was done through us because this is what Jesus Christ the sovereign Lord of glory has decreed all I think of those who have tried to oppose this gospel over the centuries opposed by all the means at their disposal were times in history when men tried to oppose the expansion of the word of God by the sword, and that's what. To try to do when he struck down James people of said if you continue to preach and teach that we will take away your life and they didn't have been countless markers in the history of the church with the word of God is not bound as the martyr said the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church was so poorly killed the more gospel spread the dawn on the early emperors that this was no way to suppress Christianity and they gave it up. People of tried other times and other places. They're trying to do it by force.
Russia today some quarters doesn't work. The gospel spreads and it will continue to other people tried to suppress or bind the gospel by ridicule.
I've said well you know if you beat people up.
They only get their backs up. Tell them that only turns of in the martyrs you want to do that why that gives the church. He rose people will follow.
He rose what we need to do is tear the heroes doubt let's not dignify this religion by making martyrs. Let's just ridicule it so they laugh at us when we make the profession holiday Safeco Belize a foolish thing like that all you can believe that if you want to your grandmother believed it, but nobody today believe anything like that all of you want to get ahead in the world. If you want people to think well of you don't believe a thing like that in this place they put up things which I suppose dozen years ago I would say 50 years from now will be out of date that we live in a rapidly changing world. Two years from now will be out next month from now will be out of date are supposed to build your life on last gospel that they ridicule usually goes on on people tried to bind the gospel by neglect and by pretending it's not there. Just getting on with their secular lots Christianity, what's that ever heard of it must not be important and yet the gospel spreads people tried to oppose or bind the gospel by creating substitutes for counterfeits saying well all right will religion but will have religion without Christ. Let's have his ethics, but it only does business of the cross of death and atonement will devastate the beautiful things and will put that forward. And so they do that kind of religion just holds no appeal for anyone except as a substitute for the real thing, while men and women through these and many other devices. Suffice on the posts and ridicule the gospel that we hold dear and perish along the way gospel which is from God goes on and on and on United to say. Although it continues by the power and will of God. It does not do so without human channels, which is why I think closes this section of the book by his reference to Barnabas and Saul and John Mark gospel is going to expand your city, but God is to create the same kind of tree by which he has said it will expand that it will expand through the medium of human messengers. That's why at the beginning Jesus is the announcements that the Holy Spirit would common power and blessed the preaching of the gospel nevertheless said to these apostles you will be my witnesses. I was true in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, and now you're going to say that it is also to be true to the uttermost corners of the earth of us and Saul going to be the first missionaries in with them. John Mark and Betty mention John Mark if he only mentioned Barnabas and Saul. We might have said to ourselves well naturally what he respects all Paul was an apostle Barnabas was also called one is great friend. These were marvelous man. No wonder they're the ones would carry out the mission also mentions John Mark this John Mark was the author of the book by that date. Friend peters and of Barnabas is relatively Barnabas cousin and a friend of Paula traveled with them. Much of this time, we know at the beginning back at the time of the Gospels that he was a young man is probably that young man who fled away in the garden in the light of Jesus arrest probably just a teenager at the time.
Here is the company of these great men. These apostles begins to travel within this period there when these seem to fall away from the gospel, at least in Paul's judgment. Paul said going to use for marketing. Barnabas rolled over and folded want to take them.
Barnabas said no no is my cousin Denise was a young man and I want to take it you'll do alright and he did and all, much to his credit. Years later when he has occasion in his final letters to refer to this man John Mark says is profitable for the gospel because the young man was he was young at the time these things were beginning to unfold. God used him and I suppose he became a certain way, the next generation of Christian missionary.
Many of you are young you look to others been in the face long time before you and you say well yes they're the ones about carrying on them. They are trying to the best of their ability, but you are one as well. This message, you shall be my witnesses is not only the pastors, not only for the aged.
Not only were those in positions of responsibility or prominence of the church is for all God's people all God's people, and it is by that means that this great verse, verse 24 is fulfilled, says that the word of God continued to increase and spread may increase widely in our day by its spread through us. As to others in earlier generations to every corner of our world. Spray. While there, we would take these words to ourselves, desiring to be not even by neglect like Herod who opposed the gospel like these early heroes of the faith. Barnabas and Saul John Mark who, to the best of their ability and with the talents and skills that you provided actually traveled about and spoke to all their contemporaries grabbed her father that we might be like that so as a result of our time as in there's this glorious gospel gospel which is so useful and powerful and eternal, which is destined to prevail through us.
The gospel might indeed increase and spread widely Jesus, you are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.
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